Cycle 14, 3/3/3+ Week Begins With A Mixed Bag

snowYesterday, it was bitterly cold outside when I woke up, and I mean temperatures in the single digits.

Lots of ice on the ground as well, so my wife elected to stay in bed rather than go for an early morning walk. The grandkids were asleep and all was quiet and peaceful as I prepared to hit the gym at 8 a.m.

I dressed as I usually do, in shorts, a t-shirt, and my trusty hoodie, but I took a pair of sweat pants just in case.

The car’s heater managed to make my vehicle’s interior livable, but just barely by the time I pulled into the gym’s parking lot. There was only one other car there, Bicycle guy’s. I know he uses the squat rack on Sundays, so it would be a race to see which one of us claimed it first.

But before that, Bryce had to arrive. I did something I almost never do and kept the engine and the heater going while I was waiting. Yes, it was that cold.

Bryce was actually a couple of minutes early for a change, which I was grateful for. He opened up and I was in like a shot, got to the squat rack and “claimed” it, then went back and tossed my hoodie in a locker (left the sweat pants in the car).

Fortunately, Bicycle guy started out with dumbbells and Liz strolled in by the by to do her usual workout.

I got things set up, still a lack of 35 pound weight plates, but I managed to scrounge up a couple, and then I got to work. Here’s how 3/3/3+ week started.

Main Lifts 3/3/3+

rippetoe training squat

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack (raw)

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
3x 135lbs/61.235kg
3x 165lbs/74.8427kg
4x 185lbs/83.9146kg
3x 205lbs/92.9864kg (joker)
1x 225lbs/102.058kg (joker)
1x 235lbs/106.594kg (joker) PR!

Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 60lbs/27.2155kg (warm up)
3x 80lbs/36.2874kg
3x 90lbs/40.8233kg
3x 95lbs/43.0913kg
2x 105lbs/47.6272kg (joker)
0x 115lbs/52.1631kg (joker) -failed rep-

Assistance Lift

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

10x 20lbs/9.07185kg
10x 20lbs/9.07185kg
10x 20lbs/9.07185kg
10x 20lbs/9.07185kg
10x 17.5lbs/7.937866kg

The good news is I made a PR again with my back squat. The bad news is that I failed miserably with my overhead press.

Last week, I made a PR in my back squat doing a single rep with a 230 pound barbell on my back. It was difficult, and I knew I was taking a chance increasing the weight again so soon, even if it was just five pounds.

squatEven 185 pounds felt heavy over four reps and I had to go slow on the lift out and walk back in my joker sets, making sure the barbell was balanced on my traps.

I managed a triple at 205 pounds but only a single at 225. It still feels pretty heavy and hard to push back up out of the hole.

I’d been waiting three or more minutes between sets, hoping it was enough recovery time. Got set up for the last joker. Did the lift out and walk back, took a deep breath, and slowly descended.

I forced myself to go low enough to where my thighs were parallel to the floor and oh man, pushing up was hard. I could feel it in my lower back and I groaned on the way back up.

But I made it. A new PR. I may leave the max weight there for a while. Not sure how close I am to my absolute limit and I don’t want to find the answer the hard way.

After that victory, I was hoping to at least match my current PR on the overhead press which is 120 pounds. I couldn’t do it last week, and as you can see, I didn’t make it this week as well.

Not only that, but on the 3+ set, I really could only manage three reps at 95 pounds. I don’t know what’s wrong here. Last week, I did six reps with a 90 pound barbell, and did a single at 115. Two weeks ago, I made my 120 PR and again did a single at 115.

Yesterday, I managed a double at 105 and blew the single at 115.

seated dumbbell shoulder press

Bicycle guy had been doing all sorts of different lifts, but I figured he’d want the squat rack sooner or later, so I surrendered it rather than try again.

I was pretty frustrated though, so I decided to do an assistance lift to see if it helps down the road. Chose seated dumbbell shoulder presses with relatively light twin 20 pound dumbbells.

That lasted for four of my five (boring but big) sets. My arms were feeling pretty punished, so I switched to two 17.5 dumbbells for the final set, just so I could make sure to do the required ten reps.

It was getting near the top of the hour by this time, so I did my usual mobility work and called it a day.

The sun was shining when I left the gym, but it was still incredibly cold. After working out, cold feels both good and bad since I’m so hot.

My granddaughter woke up sometime during the night last night, which woke me up. That, and the dark cold morning convinced me not to get up at four to do cardio at the gym by five this morning. Kind of wish I forced myself, but then again, it was good to get some extra rest.

bench press
Proto credit:

Bench press and deadlifts are scheduled for Thursday. Made PRs on both last week. I’ll find out what’s in the cards for those lifts in three days. Wish me luck.

No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.

Dr. Carol S. Dweck
from her book Mindset


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